The information catastrophe

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Currently we produce ~1021 digital bits of information annually on Earth. Assuming 20% annual growth rate, we estimate that after ~350 years from now, the number of bits produced will exceed the number of all atoms on Earth, ~1050. After ~250 years, the power required to sustain this digital production will exceed 18.5 × 1012 Watts, i.e. the total planetary power consumption today, and after ~500 years from now the digital content will account for more than half of the Earth’s mass, according to the mass-energy-information equivalence principle. Besides the existing global challenges such as climate, environment, population, food, health, energy and security, our estimates here point to another singularity event for our planet, called the Information Catastrophe.
Original languageEnglish
Article number085014
Number of pages4
JournalAIP Advances
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020


  • Landauer principle
  • Digital information
  • Big Data
  • Information physics
  • Mass-energy-information equivalence principle


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